The British nerve centre for Madonna Inc is to be found in two adjoining townhouses in central London. The buildings are a home for the singer and her four children when they are in this country, plus offices and a personal gym. From the outside, the six-storey edifices are standard-issue London mansions - that is, way beyond the standards most of us are accustomed to. There is something impregnable about such streets: an air of discreet luxury pervades them. Litter seems not to blow or rattle down their immaculate expanses; no chewing gum or urgently expelled kebab encrusts their gleaming paving stones.
You might glance up at Madonna’s perfect residential pair and admire their symmetry, the cleanness of their architectural lines. But you would be more likely, unless you were a lurking paparazzo, not even to notice them; they are merely two houses in a long, wide street of the things. Anonymous, ordered, well maintained and with a touch of class. Madonna wouldn’t have it any other way.
'Where do you live?' she asks when we meet later. Dalston, I say. The name doesn’t register. Stoke Newington, I add as a pointer. 'That’s not even in London,' she scoffs. And it isn’t, to be fair. Or not in this London, at any rate.
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